World-renowned PNT expert David Last presumed lost at sea

November 26, 2019  - By
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UPDATE: The search was called off on Tuesday afternoon. Additional information is available in this Evening Standard article.


Professor Emeritus David Last. (Photo: David Last)

Professor Emeritus David Last. (Photo: David Last)

Just before 13:00 GMT on Nov. 25, a private plane piloted by David Last, former president of the Royal Institute of Navigation, disappeared from radar and hit the sea approximately two miles off the coast of Wales.

On-going search and rescue efforts have recovered pieces of wreckage and personal effects.

“Last was one of the most respected and well-loved figures in the worldwide positioning, navigation, and timing community. His loss creates a hole that cannot be filled,” said Dana Goward, president of the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation. “David was a close personal friend. Our grieving will not be brief.”

According to BBC News, the search for the missing plane and its pilot off the Welsh coast resumed on Nov. 26. North Wales Police said the light aircraft was flying from Caernarfon Airport to the Great Orme, Llandudno, and back on Monday when it disappeared. There were no other passengers and officers were supporting the missing pilot’s family.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the search has resumed around Puffin Island, near Penmon, Anglesey. A plane carrying a sonar technology camera is searching the area as well as a lifeboat, helicopter and coastguard teams on foot.

David Last was a U.K. consultant engineer specializing in radio navigation and communications systems, professor emeritus at the University of Bangor, Wales, and past president of the Royal Institute of Navigation.

He also was a member of the expert panel and co-author of the January 2018 Blackett Report.

About the Author:


Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006, and also is editor of GPS World’s sister website, Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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